The following tips are designed to improve the kind of skills required to become a professional court interpreter:
Become familiar with courtroom settings, procedure and
legal vocabulary by visiting your local courts. Observe different kinds
of proceedings and practice your interpreting skills by following the
hearing and trying to interpret what you hear.
Watch the local and national news or TV shows like
Law and Order and CSI and try to simultaneously interpret what you
hear. This will give you a sense for the speed required to interpret in
the simultaneous mode and the vocabulary you will be expected to
Clip any article on current events or a court case from
your local newspaper and have a friend or colleague read it to you while
you interpret out loud and record your rendition. Then, listen to the
recording and take note of any words you missed or did not know. Look
the words up, learn their meanings and repeat the exercise.
Practice your delivery so your rendition flows naturally and smoothly
without sounding rushed or halting. Repeat this type of exercise as
often as necessary with different source materials until you can do it
without missing any content or information while keeping up with
Borrow books from your local library that explain our
legal system and the various types of criminal and civil cases and how
they proceed through the courts. You can also find books about
interpreting in legal settings and developing interpreting skills.
Start developing your own glossaries by keeping track
of vocabulary and legal terms you come across in all the previous
activities and learn the equivalent meanings of legal terms in your
- Review the glossary of terms to start familiarizing yourself with legal terminology used in the Pennsylvania courts.